Kit or scratchbuilt level 2 rocket

For level 2 HPR certification, kit or scratchbuilt rocket?

  • Kit, built stock

    Votes: 16 27.6%
  • Kit, but improved

    Votes: 29 50.0%
  • Scratchbuilt

    Votes: 19 32.8%

  • Total voters
    58
  • Poll closed .

JohnCoker

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For level 2 HPR certification (J, K, L motors), would you prefer to build a kit or scratchbuild your rocket? (This can be what you did, what you're planning to do, and/or what you'd recommend to someone asking for advice.)
 

sambatterman

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My level 2 was done with a Polecat Aerospace 7.5" Bullpup kit. Not a lot of instructions. The kit gives some "safety net", but in my opinion, the building of a scratch model teaches you so much more about the science and the hobby. If I could do it again, I would go scratch.
 

EPflyer

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My level 2 flight was with a Madcow Aerobee-Hi. I improved it by adding an AV bay and flew it full dual deploy. I also had GPS in the nosecone. I did not originally plan on using that rocket for my cert flight but I wanted to complete the certification before the NAR procedures changed. My flight was on a J435 and flew to 5289 feet and a max velocity of 1505 feet per second. This was my first mile high flight as well as my first mach flight.
 

NateB

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I'm currently building a 3" Darkstar for a L2 attempt. I voted stock, because while I have made some adjustments to the kit to alloe for multiple flight configurations, I did not alter the dimensions or change anything drastically. I did my L1 with a Darkstar Jr and thought it would be fun to have a fleet and scale up for different certification flights.
 

heada

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Mine was a PML 4" AIM-120 with dual deploy. It was a "stock" build but looking back theres alot I'd do differently now.
 

dhbarr

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Mine was spare parts and shipping tubes bodged together the night before Airfest. Worked great for me, wouldn't recommend generally.
 

Handeman

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I designed and scratch built my L2 rocket which included a zipperless fin can and the booster BT attached to the av-bay. That came in handy when CTI became available and I replaced it with a longer tube so I could fly a Pro54-6GXL case. But, over the years and 50 flights I decided the inconvenience in prepping the rocket with both tubes attached to the av-bay was not something I would do again.

For me, the whole point of designing and scratch building my L1 and L2 rockets was to learn as much about HPR as I could. I don't think I would have learned near as much building a kit.
 

waltr

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With so many good kit out there and since most have all the parts I would start with a kit.
Then build it as per my specifications for an L2 flight.
 

KenECoyote

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For L2 I'd recommend whatever the flier is comfortable with and wants to do. Scratchbuilding isn't for everyone, but it earns respect in my book.
For my L2, I took a very difficult garage kit (Hangar 11 4" X-15) and modded it for DD after the designer of the kit told me it wasn't possible. It almost killed me, but it was glorious! Lol

Screenshot_20221102_175537_Photos.jpg

orca-image--1232971445.jpeg
 

bjphoenix

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My mentors have just said that "a kit is just a bucket of parts." I tweaked all of mine based on my experiences and those of my mentors. I'm also a big fan of interchangeable parts.
I think it depends on the person, and on their budget. I lean towards DIY so I've cloned a lot of rocket designs by buying parts and figuring out dimensions on my own. This may allow a rocket to be built for a little bit less cost. If a person doesn't want to source the parts and figure out the design themselves then they should buy a kit. Either approach can provide a perfectly suitable rocket.
 
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I used the step-by-step dvd to build the Apogee "Level-2" rocket with the exception of flipping the sled around so that the battery would have the wood support under it. When Tim launched it, it failed because he had it in upside down and the battery got yanked down. Waiting on warm weather now as I can't breathe below 55 or so.:mad:
 

Buckeye

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It is all a gray area. By the time you get to L2, many suitable "kits" have no instructions, no recovery gear, no avionics bays, no hardware. The "stock" bag of parts immediately requires "improvement" to make something that will fly.

99% of L2 rockets are simple 3FNC builds. Cloning a 3FNC model out of a sheet of plywood and a mailing tube instead of COTS parts from LOC isn't really "scratch" in my book. It may give you satisfaction and save a few pennies, but merely sourcing the materials from the garbage can doesn't change the rocket science.

So, I don't think this poll can be answered properly. There is too much ambiguity in the choices.
 

tsmith1315

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My first L2 was a 4” LOC kit built purely stock with 30 min BSI epoxy. Nylon loop epoxied to the top of the airframe as shock cord attachment, just like the brief instructions said to do. Nothing more than a bigger, heftier model rocket. J275 with motor ejection provided a very simple up and down flight around 4k’ with no extra accessories.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
 

Handeman

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I agree with @TSmith , it can be simple and cheap. It can also be complicated and expensive. It is pretty much up to the flier and what their goals are for getting the L2 cert.

In my case, one of my goals was to be able to fly the full range of L2 motors in my cert rocket after the cert. I reached that goal with 50 flights of I to L motors over the 10 years I flew that rocket.

With different goals, the rocket that works best is going to be different too.

I also recommend you think about what goals you might have after the L2 cert goal is achieved. That might impact which rocket you choose for the L2 cert.
 

T-Rex

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If I go for L2, it is a scratch rocket that started as an LOC Warlock. I got the kit through the yard sale section here. The kit was cheaper than buying the nosecone and tube as components. Home field has a ceiling of 2000ft, so it is purposely draggy.
I made custom fins and upgraded to a 54mm MMT. My son used his router and a Jasper jig to cut the rings for me.
 

thzero

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My Level 1 was scratch built based on a kit. My Level 2 was a major kit bash; just mostly used components plus other components. My Level 3 is going to be a bit more of a kit - unless I decide to change the fins - but highly customized.
 

Banzai88

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I did a scratch build, mostly because I wanted to achieve certain goals with the design. I wanted to use a soller composites sleeve, I wanted 1/4" fins, I wanted a rounded nose cone, I wanted dual redundant computers, and I wanted the deployment charges for upper and lower events to be sized the same, and I wanted it all to be of a weight that a full J would hit ~1 mile altitude.

I had done DD so many times with my L1 rockets that, other than it being a new rocket on it's first flight, my cert launch was like any other flight for me.

As it turns out, everything worked out perfectly and I achieved my goals with that rocket.....and for the fields that I launch at, it's about the perfect 54mm motor bird for me, so it gets launched every time we go!
 
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boatgeek

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I used a kit, but that's mainly because it was the rocket that I had available when I had an opportunity to cert L2. I would normally prefer to scratch build. If I ever go for L3, it will be with a scratch build.
 

mccordmw

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Kits for my L1 and L2 certs. I then flew several scratch built L1 and L2 airframes before going for my scratch built L3 cert.

I prefer the challenge of fully designing and building a rocket.
 

dpower

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I recommend something that not only achieves your goals, but excites you! If a kit is available, it’ll still be a challenge. You’ll miss out on the design aspect, but there are plenty of things to learn from a L2 sized kit, and you’ll want to sim it either way. I’m more into interesting designs, than sophisticated electronics or fast/high flights, so considered upscaling one of my favorite Estes kits, before deciding to fly my 1:64 Saturn V from a Sirius Rocketry kit. It took months to build, and was memorable!
 

JackC

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Mine was a stock Hawk Mountain Jumanji kit. It was my second fiberglass rocket. Large fins, very solid build that didn’t go too high on a J330 motor.
 
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